Contested heritages and cultural tourism

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The fascination with death and disaster has encouraged the development of distinctive tourism markets, the rediscovery of sites and places of past conflict and all accompanied with uneasy narratives about what they mean and how they should be consumed. The increasingly stratified tourist economy and the interplay between demand and supply has also stimulated a complex set of ontological, socio-political and indifferent responses as places and interests compete to project often selective or stylised claims for recognition. This paper reviews the experiences of tourists visiting Derry/Londonderry, the UK’s first City of Culture and how they make sense of the competing interpretations of the past in museums, rituals and artefacts. The 17thC walled city, the city of violence and the post-conflict renaissance city are spatially and socially reproduced but rarely connect with each other to help make sense of the past for the present and critically, for the future. The paper concludes that the discursive content promised by the City of Culture was a missed opportunity to debate these places and events and critically, the problematized and reified narratives they each project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number6
Early online date06 Feb 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Feb 2017


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